Advertisement

Evolutionary epistemology and the origin and evolution of language: Taking symbiogenesis seriously

  • Nathalie Gontier
Chapter
Part of the Theory and Decision Library A: book series (TDLA, volume 39)

Abstract

Symbiogenesis is a form of horizontal evolution that occurred 2 billion years ago, with the evolution of eukaryotic cells. It will be argued that, just as we can develop universal selection theories based upon a general account of natural selection, we can also develop a universal symbiogenetic principle that can serve as a general framework to study the origin and evolution of language. (1) Horizontal evolution will be compared with and distinguished from vertical evolution. (2) Different examples of intra- and interspecific horizontal evolution will be given to show that horizontal evolution is quantitatively and qualitatively the most commonly occurring form of evolution throughout the history of life. (3) Finally, three examples are given of how a universal symbiogenesis principle can be implemented in the study of language origins and evolution, more specifically within: (a) the study of language variation, (b) language genes and (c) conceptual blending.

Keywords

Natural Selection Giant Panda Normative Framework Language Variation Language Disorder 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Adoutte, A.; Balavoine, G.; Lartillot, N.; Lespinet, O.; Prud’homme, B.; and Renaud de Rosa. 2000. “The new animal phylogeny: Reliability and implications.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 97(9): 4453–4456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aitchison, J. 1995. “Chimps, children and creoles: The need for caution”. In: Puppel, S. (ed.), The biology of language, 1–19. Amsterdam: John Benjamins publishing company.Google Scholar
  3. Alcock, K. J.; Passingham, R. E.; Watkins, K. E.; and Vargha-Khadem, F. 2000. “Oral dyspraxia in inherited speech and language impairment and acquired dysphasia”. Brain and Language 75, 17–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ayala, F.J. 1978. “The mechanisms of evolution”. Scientific American 239(3): 48–61.Google Scholar
  5. Bradie, M.; and Harms, W. 2001. “Evolutionary epistemology”. In: Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy, 1–13. http://www.compilerpress.atfreeweb.com/Anno%20Bradie%20&%20Harm%20Evol%20Epist.htmGoogle Scholar
  6. Bickerton D. 2002. “From proto-language to language”. In Crow, T.J. (ed.), The speciation of modern Homo sapiens, 103–120. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Proceedings of the British Academy 106.]Google Scholar
  7. Campbell, D.T. 1959. “Methodological suggestions from a comparative psychology of knowledge processes”. Inquiry 2(3): 152–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Campbell, D.T. 1960. “Blind variation and selective retention in creative thought as in other knowledge processes”. Psychological review 67(6): 380–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Campbell, D.T. 1974. “Evolutionary epistemology”. In: Schlipp, P.A. (ed.), The philosophy of Karl Popper, Vol. I 413–459. Illinois: La Salle.Google Scholar
  10. Campbell, D.T. 1977. “Comment on ‘The natural selection model of conceptual evolution’”. Philosophy of Science 44: 502–507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Campbell, D.T. 1987. “Selection theory and the sociology of scientific validity”. In: Callebaut, W.; and Pinxten, R. (eds.), Evolutionary epistemology 139–158. Dordrecht: D. Reidel Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  12. Chomsky, N. 1965. Aspects of the theory of syntax. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Cosmides, L.; and Tooby, J. 1994. “Beyond intuition and instinct blindness: toward an evolutionary rigorous cognitive science”. Cognition 50: 41–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Croft, W. 2000. Explaining language change: An evolutionary approach. Essex: Pearson.Google Scholar
  15. Croft, W. 2002. “The Darwinization of linguistics”. Selection 3(1): 75–91. http://www.akkrt.hu/kerdesek/reszletes_jour.jsp?id=20020103&hid=076.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Crystal, D. 2002. Language death. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Cziko, G. 1995. Without miracles: Universal selection theory and the second Darwinian revolution. Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press.Google Scholar
  18. Davidson, E.H. 2001. Genomic regulatory systems: Development and evolution. San Diego: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  19. Dawkins, R. 1983. “Universal Darwinism”. In: Hull, D.L.; and Ruse, M. (eds.), The philosophy of biology, 15–35. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [First published in: Bendall, D.S. (ed.). 1998. Evolution from molecules to man, 403–425.Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press.]Google Scholar
  20. Dawkins, R. 1984. “Replicators and vehicles”. In: Brandon, R.; and Burian, R.M. (eds.), Genes, organisms, populations, 161–179. Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press.Google Scholar
  21. Dawkins, R. 2000 (1986). The blind watchmaker. London: Penguin Books [First published by Longman].Google Scholar
  22. Dennettt, D. 1995. Darwin’s dangerous idea. New York: Simons and Schuster.Google Scholar
  23. Dyson, F. 1998. “The evolution of science”. In: Fabian, A.C. (ed.), Evolution: Society, science and the universe 118–135. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Enard, W.; Przeworski, M.; Fisher, S.; Lai, C.; Wiebe, V.; Kitano, T.; Monaco, P.; and Pääbo, S. 2002. “Molecular evolution of FOXP2, a gene involved in speech and language”. Nature 418: 869–872.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fauconnier, G.; and Turner, M. 2002. The way we think: Conceptual blending and the mind’s hidden complexities. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  26. Gehring, W. 1998. Master control genes in development and evolution: The homeobox story. London: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Gontier, N. 2004. De oorsprong en evolutie van leven: 15 van het standaardparadigma afwijkende thesen. Van voorwoord en nawoord voorzien door Philip Polk en Jean Paul Van Bendegem. Brussel: VUBPRESS [The origin and evolution of life: 15 nonneodarwinian theses. Pro-and epilogue by Philip Polk and Jean Paul Van Bendegem, no English translation available yet].Google Scholar
  28. Gould, S.J. 1980. The Panda’s thumb: More reflections in natural history. New York: Norton & company.Google Scholar
  29. Gould, S.J. 1982. “Darwinismand the expansion of evolutionary theory”. Science 216: 380–387.Google Scholar
  30. Gould, S.J. 1984. “Smooth curve of evolutionary rate: A psychological and mathematical artifact”. Science 266: 994–996.Google Scholar
  31. Gould, S.J. 1991. Wonderful life: The Burgess Shale and the nature of history. London: Penguin Books. [First edition 1989.]Google Scholar
  32. Gould, S.J.; and Vrba, E. 1982. “Exaptation: A missing term in the science of form”. Paleobiology 8: 4–15.Google Scholar
  33. Hull, D.L. 2002. “Species, languages and the comparative method”. Selection 3(1): 17–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hull, D.L.; Langman, R.E.; and Glenn, S.S. 2001. “A general account of selection: Biology, immunology, and behavior”. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24: 511–573.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hurst, J.A., et al. 1990. “An extended family with a dominantly inherited speech disorder”. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology 32: 352–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kahn, L.H. 2004. “Viral trade and global public health”. Issues in science and technology Winter: 57–62.Google Scholar
  37. Kimura, M. 1976. “How genes evolve: A population geneticist’s view”. Annales de génétique 19(3): 153–168.Google Scholar
  38. King, M.-C.; and Wilson, A.C. 1975. “Evolution at two levels in humans and Chimpanzees”. Science 188: 107–116.Google Scholar
  39. Lai, C. S.; Fisher, S.; Hurst, J.; Levy E.; Hodgson, S.; Fox, M.; Jeremiah, S.; Povey, S.; Jamison, D.; Green, E.; Vargha-Khadem, F; and Monaco, A. 2000. “The SPCH1 region on Human 7q31: Genomic characterization of the critical interval and localization of translocations associated with speech and language disorder”. American Journal of Human Genetics. 67: 357–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lai, C. S.; Fisher, S.; Hurst, J.; Vargha-Khadem, F.; and Monaco, A. 2001. “A Forkhead-domain gene is mutated in a severe speech and language disorder”. Nature 413: 519–523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Liégeois, F.; Baldeweg, T.; Connelly, A.; Gadian, D.; Mishkin, M.; and Vargha-Khadem F. 2003. “Language fMRI abnormalities associated with FOXP2 gene mutation”. Nature Neuroscience 6(11): 1230–1237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Margulis, L. 1999. The symbiotic planet: A new look at evolution. London: Phoenix, Orion Books. [First edition 1998.]Google Scholar
  43. Margulis, L.; and Sagan, D. 2000. What is life? Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  44. Margulis, L.; and Sagan, D. 2002. Acquiring genomes: A theory of the origin of species. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  45. Maynard Smith, J. 1993. The theory of evolution. Cambridge: Canto. [First edition: 1958 by Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.]Google Scholar
  46. Mayr, E. 1978. “Evolution”. Scientific American 239(3): 39–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Mayr, E. 1983. “The unity of the genotype”. In: Brandon, R.; and Burian, R.M. (eds). 1984. Genes, organisms, populations, 69–84. Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press.Google Scholar
  48. McGinnis, W.; and Kuziora, M. 1994. “The molecular architects of body design”. Scientific American Feb.: 36–42.Google Scholar
  49. Mellars, P.A. 1998. “Neanderthals, Modern Humans and the archaeological evidence for language.” In: Jablonski, N.; and Aiello, L. (eds.), The origin and diversification of language, 89–116. California: University of California Press. [Wattis Symposium Series in Anthropology: Memoirs of the California Academy of Sciences 24].Google Scholar
  50. Melton, D.A. 1991. “Pattern formation during animal development”. Science 252: 234–241.Google Scholar
  51. Mufwene, S.S. 2001. The ecology of language evolution. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Munz, P. 2001. Philosophical Darwinism: On the origin of knowledge by means of natural selection. London: Routledge. [First edition 1993.]Google Scholar
  53. Nettle, D.; and Romaine, S. 2002. Vanishing voices. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Newmeyer, F.J. 2003 “What can the field of linguistics tell us about the origin of language”. In: Christiansen, M.H.; and Kirby, S. (eds.), Language evolution, 58–76. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Studies in the Evolution of Language.]Google Scholar
  55. O’Brien, S.J.; and Menotti-Raymond, M. 1999. “The promise of comparative genomics in mammals”. Science 286: 458–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Pinker, S.; and Bloom, P. 1990. “Natural language and natural selection”. Behavioural and Bran Sciences 13(4): 707–784.Google Scholar
  57. Plotkin, H. 1995. Darwin machines and the nature of knowledge: Concerning adaptations, instinct and the evolution of intelligence. London: Penguin Books. [First edition 1994.]Google Scholar
  58. Robertis De, E.; Oliver, G.; and Wright, C. 1990. “Homeobox genes and the vertebrate body plan”. Scientific American Jul.: 26–32.Google Scholar
  59. Ruse, M. 1985. Taking Darwin seriously. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.Google Scholar
  60. Schrödinger, E. 2000 (1944). What is life? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Canto.Google Scholar
  61. Schwartz, J.H. 1999. Sudden origins: Fossils, genes, and the emergence of species. New York: John Wiley and Sons.Google Scholar
  62. Sperber, D. 1998. Explaining culture: A naturalistic approach. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. [First edition 1996.]Google Scholar
  63. Thomason, S. 2001. Language contact: An introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  64. Vargha-Khadem, F.; Watkins, K. E.; Alcock, K.; Fletcher, P.; and Passingham, R. 1995. “Praxis and nonverbal cognitive deficits in a large family with a genetically transmitted speech and language disorder”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 92: 930–933.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Vargha-Khadem, F.; Watkins, K. E.; Price, C.; Ashburner, J.; Alcock, K.; Connelly, A.; Frackowiak, R.; Friston, R.; Pembrey, M.; Mishkin, M.; Gadian, D.; and Passingham, R. 1998. “Neural basis of an inherited speech and language disorder”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 95: 12695–12700.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Watkins, K.E.; Donkers, N.F.; Vargha-Khadem, F. 2002. “Behavioural analysis of an inherited speech and language disorder: comparison with acquired aphasia”. Brain 125: 452–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Wolpert, L. 1991. “Do we understand evolution?” Science 266: 571–572.Google Scholar
  68. Wolpert, L. 1998. “The evolution of cellular development”. In: Fabian, A.C. (ed.), Evolution: Society, science and the universe, 28–45. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nathalie Gontier
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Assistant of the Research Foundation—Flanders (F.W.O.-Vlaanderen), Centre for Logic and Philosophy of ScienceVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium

Personalised recommendations